Don’t Make the Mistake of Buying These Subaru Forester and Outback Models With Oil Problems

Buying a used vehicle a few years old is a legitimate way to get an excellent vehicle at a lower price. However, all used cars are not created equally, and some models should be avoided due to reliability or maintenance issues. Learn about a recent Consumer Reports article that discusses used cars known to burn oil, including several Subaru models, and which models they recommend instead. 

Consumer Reports’ list of used cars with oil problems

A Subaru Forester with a bike rack in a forest and and a Subaru Outback driving on a highway near the sea
A Subaru Forester and a Subaru Outback | Subaru of America, Inc.

Earlier this month, Consumer Reports released its list of ‘Used Cars That Burn Oil-And What to Buy Instead.’ Many cars with worn-out engines will begin to burn some oil, but Consumer Reports states that this shouldn’t happen in used cars that have been well-maintained for at least 10 years. Unfortunately, some models built within the last decade have known oil-burning issues. 

Once manufacturers realized these problems, they fixed the problem or discontinued the problematic engines in future models. However, this means that there are still plenty of vehicles out there that were never addressed, which is why it’s best to avoid purchasing cars that may have these types of issues unless there is thorough documentation to show that this problem has been fixed. 

The ever-popular BMW 5 Series is beautiful and luxurious, but its turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine is one of the worst oil-burning offenders in models built between 2012 and 2019. Another popular vehicle with this issue is the 2010-2013 Chevy Equinox, and Chevrolet tried to remedy the issue by extending its warranty. Still, CR recommends a 2015 Toyota RAV4 as a better alternative. Other notable entries include the 2010-2015 Audi Q5, 2010-2013 Acura MDX, and the 2010-2013 Mini Cooper. 

Several Subaru models made the list, including the Forester and Outback

2010-2015 were rough years for Subaru for oil-burning problems, as several of its popular models suffered from this issue. Two of its most popular models, the Subaru Forester and Outback, were among these oil burners, especially if you opted to buy one with a 2.4-liter flat-four engine. Consumer Reports also found that many of these models experienced head gasket failure.

On the other hand, both of these vehicles were great in almost every other way. U.S. News has mostly excellent things to say about the 2015 Subaru Forester, praising its numerous standard safety features, all-wheel drive, and 250-horsepower, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine option. The site also remarked that it provides generous cargo and seating space, but it noted that the infotainment was a bit annoying to work with. 

The 2015 Subaru Outback was also highly regarded by U.S. News, even getting its rating as the number one in 2015 wagons. Unlike the Forester, reviewers liked the Outback’s intuitive infotainment system, highlighting its expansive cargo and seating room. It got a few marks off its scorecard for mediocre fuel economy, but it also got high marks for safety features and scores. 

Consumer Reports’ proposed alternative


The 2021 Subaru Forester Gives You a Better View Of the World

Consumer Reports recommends that anyone looking at a 2010-2015 Subaru Forester or Outback should instead consider a 2010-2015 Honda CR-V. This popular crossover has earned impressive reliability ratings over the years, and it provides many of the same safety features as the Subaru models. 

U.S. News noted that the 2015 Honda CR-V gets better gas mileage than the 2015 Subaru Outback, though its engine can be a bit disappointing in the power department for some drivers. U.S. News also suggests that if someone is looking for a used CR-V, the 2015 model is the best version in the 2012-2016 class, though the 2017 CR-V offers plenty of exciting upgrades if it’s within one’s budget. 

There are plenty of factors to consider when used car shopping, and unfortunately, oil-burning problems are one of them.